Bullets ricocheted off of each locker – each pelt of the metal echoed across the crowded hallways. Each scream, each whisper, each plea for mercy echoed within that small space. We can turn the channel. We can turn a blind eye. However, we can’t stop the questions – we can’t stop the gnawing at our souls that dares us to do more than simply say a quick prayer and add a somber social media status. We’re challenged by their stories and we’re changed by their lives. Or are we?
It’s been days since their screams have invaded our living rooms, yet in the midst of their turmoil, we’ve turned a blind eye. Each student has recounted their terror, shared their tears and demanded changed. However, in the midst of their testimonies, we’ve demanded our rights – our rights to comfort and our rights to ignorance. Survivors have given us a glimpse into their nightmares and we’ve turned the channel, tuned them out and excused them as a statistic. Each story pressed us for answers – each student demanded change – each child posed us with the same questions: “Why?”
“Why did this happen?” “Why didn’t someone stop him?” “Why am I another statistic?” Each question beckoned us to find solution. Why? In the midst of their screams, the whispers and their pleas for mercy, we were invited in the turmoil of these children’s memories. We were invited to do more than say a quick prayer and send positive thoughts. We were invited to create a solution. Edmund Burke reminds us that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Bloodstained scenes have invaded these children’s souls and dared to shake their spirit; however, in the midst of their nightmares, they look to us for answers. They look to us for change. They look to humanity to do SOMETHING. How many more acts of violence will it take to make a change? How many more children need to be buried until we revaluate gun laws? When is it enough?
Politicians sent their regrets, asked for prayers and positive thoughts towards the victims; however, in the midst of their rhetoric, the topic of gun control was left off the table. However, the governmental pulpit assured NRA members that their right to bear arms would not be threatened. In the midst of the bloodshed, gun laws were protected. In the midst of funerals, rights were upheld. In the midst of tears, the topic of gun violence was swept under the table.
However, one senator chose to speak up – one man chose to break the silence. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut responded to the violence in Lakeland, FL and tweeted, “Don't tell me tomorrow isn't the appropriate time to debate gun violence. If you're a political leader doing nothing about this slaughter, you're an accomplice.” I want to take this one step further. If you’re a Christian leader doing nothing about this slaughter, you’re an accomplice. As we grieve over the lives that were taken at Parkland high school, let us do more than pray.
The nightmare continues for each victim and the question still beg to be answered. In the midst of this horror, a choir of children ask for solutions – a generation demands change. “What now?